Stan’s Obligatory Blog

4/9/2011

A nice Saturday morning ride

Filed under: — stan @ 12:04 pm

Once again, I had a kid sleeping in on Saturday, so I went for a little bike ride. It was basically the same route as last week, taking in some nice hills. About the only thing new that I saw was the half-built house at the top of the last hill. I don’t know how I’ve missed that all this time. Based on how weathered the wood is, it must have been sitting there half-built for at least a year or more.

29 miles.
cycling

4/3/2011

Lookout Mountain

Filed under: — stan @ 8:00 pm

Today’s bike ride was another trip up the Hollywood hills to see the former Lookout Mountain Air Force Station. I recently got a DVD of a documentary about their work filming all of the nuclear bomb tests in Nevada and also the South Pacific. We’d done this ride before, but I figured out an easier way to get there this time.

On the way to Hollywood, we ran across the Thai New Year festival. That was kind of entertaining. Then we headed up into the hills. On the way up, I saw a fire engine. I’ve often wondered if they could fit those things up those narrow winding roads in the hills.

At the top, we took a quick turn through the portion of the street with the sign saying it had been “withdrawn from public use”. I have no idea what that means, but we still were able to get through. And that was a good thing. That put us at the top of Wonderland Dr, and it we didn’t have to do the uphill slog to get to the old Air Force building.

The former Air Force film studio is now a private house, so there’s not a lot to see from the outside. But it still looks like a 1940s military building, which makes for one odd-looking house.

We rode the rest of the way down Wonderland to get to Laurel Pass, which took us up to Mulholland Dr. Along the way, I saw the house with the alligators in front.

We rode a short distance east on Mulholland before taking some little streets down into Studio City. We stopped off at the gelato place. Sadly, it was kind of chilly today, so nobody was really in the mood for gelato. Doubly sad, since the last time we were there, it was 105 degrees and the gelato freezer was broken.

The rest of the ride home was pretty unremarkable. Pleasant, but not outstanding.

47 miles.
cycling

4/2/2011

Had a couple free hours…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:34 pm

Lucinda is really enjoying sleeping in on weekends. So I had a few hours in the morning to go riding. I did a variation of the Foothill ‘Crown City Trainer’ ride, since I was in the mood to do some hills.

I got an action shot near the South Pasadena water tower. One of the houses there had a flat-topped mailbox that I could balance the camera on for a picture.

By the time I got up to the top of the big final hill, the sun was out, and it had turned into a very nice day. I stopped to look at the view and take another picture with the help of another mailbox. Then I headed home by way of Altadena.

At the corner of Mendocino and Lake I saw a sign advertising ‘Marcial Arts’. That’s a FAIL. Right up there with the exceedingly stupid TV movie they screened at my office a few years ago.

It was a nice ride.

32 miles.
cycling

3/6/2011

The Stonehurst Cottages

Filed under: — stan @ 6:35 pm

Today’s bike ride was a sightseeing trip up to Sun Valley to see the Stonehurst Cottages. These are a set of houses and a community center built in the 1920s by a local mason who collected all the stones from the nearby Tujunga Wash. I read about them in a recent issue of Los Angeles magazine, and they sounded like an interesting thing to see.

We rode out through Glendale and Burbank and up into Sun Valley. When we turned off Glenoaks, we saw a giant pair of hands by the side of the road. This turned out to be a prop warehouse. They had a lot of weird stuff sitting outside, and I’m sure there were even more strange things inside.

We took a looping roundabout route through the Stonehurst neighborhood so that we could pass by all of the houses. The map on the city web site shows which ones are original and which ones have been modified over the years. We also saw a beer-keg mailbox, which was amusing.

The route back went through the horse neighborhood and out onto Sunland Blvd. Then back by way of Tujunga to our snack stop at Goldstein’s Bagels at the top of Hospital Hill. Then it was downhill all the way back to Pasadena.

It was a fun little ride.

45 miles.
cycling

2/20/2011

Always good to have an exit strategy…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:20 pm

Today’s bike ride was one that didn’t go anywhere in particular. The weather forecast was a bit uncertain, and there was a chance we might get rained out again. So I devised a route that went 40 miles through Los Angeles, but was never more than about a mile from the nearest Metro Rail station.

It’s good to have a way available to bail out if the weather goes bad.

It rained hard on Saturday night, and it was cold in the morning. The snow was down quite low on the mountains. I guess this scared a lot of people off. So it was just me and Silvio who were hard-core enough to go riding. We headed out, into downtown Los Angeles. I got a nice view of my nemesis: the U.S. Bank Tower. Then we headed out through West Adams and then up into Larchmont.

We stopped for a bagel at Noah’s in Larchmont before heading east into Silver Lake for the ride home. The route back went up Figueroa St, which basically parallels the Metro Gold Line. By this time, it was fairly clear, and we were pretty sure it wasn’t going to rain. But it was still cold.

All in all, it was a nice ride. The route wasn’t bad, so I’ll probably keep it for other times when there is a chance of rain.

41 miles.
cycling

2/13/2011

Car culture

Filed under: — stan @ 9:19 pm

Southern California is widely regarded as the center of car culture in the U.S. And while it may seem a bit strange, that was our theme for today’s bike club ride. Normally, we regard cars as a nuisance at best, but today we were out to sightsee some car culture.

It all began with an article in the L.A. Times on Friday:

Molly and Stan Hyman are hitting the road and they’ve put their garage up for sale.

And by the way, their six-car garage comes with a house.

The Burbank couple are automobile enthusiasts and restorers who in 1995 custom-built their garage/house to give themselves room to rebuild and showcase vehicles.

So I just knew we had to go see this garage. The article also mentioned:

It’s in a residential section adjacent to Burbank’s Media District, close to Warner Bros. Studios. Cross noted it’s also near Bob’s Big Boy, where hot-rodders and car cruisers congregate weekly. Nearby are George Barris’ Kustom Industries, which builds movie cars and hot rods, and entertainer Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage.

So we had a tour. We’d been by the Barris showroom before, so I looked up the addresses for the Hymans’ house and also the Big Dog Garage, and we were off.

Along the way, we also saw a car-themed decoration on a dental office. That was kind of weird, but it fit the theme of the day.

Our snack stop was at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake, right near Bob’s Big Boy and the Barris showroom. Jay Leno’s place was up next to the runway at Burbank Airport.

The ride turned out to be a bit longer than I’d thought, but it was a perfect day for riding, so it was all right.

55 miles.
cycling

2/6/2011

Cultural history

Filed under: — stan @ 10:34 pm

This past Thursday was the anniversary of The Day the Music Died. I’m not quite old enough to remember that, since I wasn’t born until later that year, but I remember people talking about it when I was young. It seemed to be something of a cultural touchstone for a generation. So when I found out that Ritchie Valens is buried in the cemetery behind the San Fernando Mission, I knew we had to take a ride up there.

It was a very nice day for riding. It got quite warm, and the only bad part was that the wind picked up when we got near San Fernando. We fought a headwind most of the last few miles to the cemetery. When we got there, we saw that someone had already put some fresh flowers there, probably on Thursday. It’s also interesting to see the things people leave behind. In this case, coins and guitar picks.

On the way back, the wind held steady, which was all right, since we were riding with it now. That lasted all the way to La Tuna Canyon. Then we got the joy of riding four miles uphill and into the wind. After we crested the hill, it was downhill into Montrose. Our snack stop was at Goldstein’s Bagels. Then we headed home. It was a very nice ride.

55 miles.
cycling

2/5/2011

Water tower

Filed under: — stan @ 10:27 pm

I had a couple of free hours today. It was a nice day. So I went riding.

I did my usual I-have-a-couple-of-free-hours route. Down to South Pasadena, up the hill to the water tower. Then back up to the Rose Bowl to noodle around a few times before going home. It was a perfect day for riding.

The only minor annoyance was on the way home, when I got a flat. This was the same tire that I had a flat on last week. I think that tire’s about had it.

It was a nice ride.

27 miles.
cycling

1/30/2011

Rained out again

Filed under: — stan @ 2:25 pm

Today’s ride was to be a visit to Michael Jackson’s house in Holmby Hills, with a ride up and over Mulholland and home via the Valley. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

We left Pasadena under overcast skies, but the forecast was for a chance of light rain later in the day. We rode down through Eagle Rock and across the river into Silver Lake. Then I got a flat.

After fixing the flat, we continued on. When we stopped for a photo-op with one of the big guitars on the Sunset Strip, we felt a few raindrops. We continued on, and it began to rain more. We stopped for a conference at the border of Beverly Hills. And then it started to rain in earnest. So we turned tail and rode back to Hollywood and Highland and the Metro Red Line subway station.

We rode the subway into downtown L.A. and then took the Gold Line train home to Pasadena. This marks the first time we’ve had to bail due to rain in the middle of a ride. But we were fortunate that this happened on a ride where we were close to a subway stop.

26 miles and some wet riding.
cycling

1/23/2011

Big Things

Filed under: — stan @ 12:50 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the “Big Donut” route to La Puente to see the Donut Hole. This is a drive-through donut shop with a giant donut on each end of the building. It was a nice day, and we had a good group for the ride.

On the way down there, we passed a chicken restaurant and a man in a chicken suit getting ready for work. We also passed the headquarters of In-N-Out Burger, complete with In-N-Out University and the In-N-Out Company Store.

At the giant donut, we paused for a photo. Then we rode on, heading back north, with the snow on the San Gabriel mountains as a backdrop. Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we headed home across Sierra Madre.

When we passed the Albertson’s, I veered off, because I saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Like the big donut, the Wienermobile is a prime example of marketing with things shaped like the product being sold. And so I had to stop and see it close-up.

44 miles and one Wienermobile.
cycling

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